The Secret of Happiness II

Yesterday, I offered a tongue-in-cheek post about happiness. The post caused me some trepidation, because I am not a skilled humorist (though I love good satire). I was genuinely concerned the post would be misunderstood or my humor would fall flat. It wouldn’t be the first time. In general, I’ve never been able to deliver a joke without getting it all messed up − and what fun is that?happy4

But this 31-Day Blogging Challenge has me in its grip (OCD much?) so I was determined to post something − anything! − before midnight! It’s so close to the end of the month and I’ve posted everyday (so far). It wouldn’t just be a shame to mess up now; for me, it would be a disaster! (Honestly, that’s how obsessive I am.)

The problem was, I had houseguests this weekend (including three of my grandchildren). Blog … or play with the grandchildren? Kind of a no-brainer for me actually. Much as I love to write, these grands won’t be babies for long, and I simply don’t want to miss out on them because I’ve got my nose pressed to a computer screen!

Enter the Draft folder. Usually containing at least a couple items therein, and as I contemplated each one, a unifying theme developed, echoing ideas from other blogs I’d read earlier that morning. The first, a delightful “Thought For the Day” from The Healthful Life, featured a small plaque that declares:

Happiness often sneaks in a door you did not think was open.

I love that! The unexpected nature of happiness − sneaking in − underscores the whimsy that epitomizes happiness. We don’t hunt for happiness, but at the most unpredictable moments, happiness sneaks in to catch us unaware, off guard, and those remarkable moments (or realizations) can only be what C.S. Lewis called them − numinous.

The second happiness post I noticed was one by CaveCultureGirl in which she uses an image of a Scrabble tile rack with the word HAPPINESS spelled out. (Now admittedly, my OCD kicked in, causing me to react immediately:  Scrabble players get 7 tiles. Nine tiles isn’t legit. Picky, picky, I know.)

CaveCultureGirl‘s post notes her appreciation of now; her post is titled Happiness is … 10.26.13 and she makes a compelling case that happiness is a daily choice every person must make (or not). She appeals to common sense, the why-not challenge for embracing one’s circumstances and identifying the best five things in which to identify joy.

The third happiness post I read was titled Recipe for Happiness, written by FollowFoodie. The most prominent feature on this brief post is the beaming face and winsome smile of the author (presumably). I’m guessing it would be so much fun to sit in her kitchen as she works! But her words speak as well, offering a wisdom learned from 40 years preparing food and delighting guests with her cuisine. She speaks of “cultivating happiness,” again emphasizing the deliberate and conscious choice.

FollowFoodie astutely observes the integral link between food and happiness. The dishes she creates are (in a sense) suffused with enthusiasm and devotion. It isn’t only the food that provides sustenance, but also the hands that have prepared it.

Yesterday and today, I chose happiness by engaging and delighting in my family, three grandchildren, my daughter (mother of these little ones), my brothers-in-law and my beloved husband. Nothing spectacular happened. There were no impressive fireworks or extravagant demonstrations. We simply enjoyed each other’s company, shared stories and laughs, and entered into a communion too often crowded out by the busy-ness of everyday life.

In a nutshell, this was happiness … the numinous present.

Renée